There’s a ton to explore when it comes to summer camps, and we’ve got the skinny on local top-notch programs that will satisfy kids of all personalities. Read on to find out what’s new this year, and make plans to visit our free SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE FAIR on Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Blue Ash Recreation Center (4433 Cooper Road) from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. It’s your best bet for meeting with camps face-to-face and finding out what they’re really all about!
Keep up with summer learning at Cincinnati Country Day School Summer Programs (countryday.net). Club-centered programs offer grades 1 – 6 engaging activities like Creativity and Discovery Clubs, Academic Blast, Nature Connection, Sports Series, Technology and in spite of the fact that the pool will be closed as part of the North Campus Project, campers will still get to enjoy some off-campus swimming fun.
For the kid who just can’t stop clowning around, check out My Nose Turns Red (mynoseturnsred.org), the area’s only non-profit dedicated to teaching circus arts. Ten weeks of circus camps are available at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and are open to ages 7 – 16, with a separate camp for ages 4 – 7. Kids will explore circus arts and clowning, as well as get a taste of some physical skills like the gym wheel, unicycle, and aerial silks.
Nature-loving kids will want to head to Cincinnati Nature Center (cincynature.org) for week-long, nature day camps for ages 3 – 13. Camps kick off in June and run through August at both Rowe Woods in Milford (4949 Tealtown Road) and Long Branch Farm & Trails in Goshen (6926 Gaynor Road). Themes include a range of topics this year, including Animal Babies, Read & Roam, Digging Into Dirt, Things With Wings, Earth Art, Eco Engineers, Creek Week, and the intriguing Animal Grossology. Older campers ages 9 – 13 can sign up for the Wilderness Survival Camp, which includes one overnight stay. With plenty of fresh air, hands-on activities, close encounters with animals and plants, your campers are certain to come home worn out at the end of the day.
Great Parks of Hamilton County (greatparks.org) has several new camps to offer this year. Mythical Beasts & Magical Stories at Sharon Woods lets campers learn about fantastic beasts and enchanted forests with inspiration from Grimm’s fairy tales and Harry Potter. IEA Hunt Seat Bootcamp at Winton Woods Riding Center is designed for serious riders (members of an Interscholastic Equestrian Association team or collegiate Hunt Seat bound). Survival Camp at Winton Woods teaches kids the necessary skills for surviving in the wild, including how to start a fire, build a shelter, create a snare and signal for help.
Summit Country Day School (summitcds.org) has a new line-up of day programs for preschoolers through Grade 8, beginning in June. Themes for ages 3 – Kindergarten include the arts, cooking, sports, a multi-cultural week and a wet and wild week. Grades 1 – 8 can choose from a menu of camps like robotics, forensics, fashion design and sewing, as well as sports, survivor skills and more. New this year is an all-camp lunch led by the Upper School student leaders organizing relay races, scavenger hunts and water balloon tosses. Registration begins in the first few weeks in February and camps are open to children from all areas.
The Cincinnati Ballet (cballet.org/academy) offers audition-based, summer intensives for dance students, but for those who just want a glimpse of the ballet world, check out the Kids Dance Camps. These weeklong “safaris” to explore animal kingdoms near and far will introduce students to the steps they need to explore the “terrain.” Participants will explore different forms of dance while building creativity, coordination, flexibility and strength, as well as artistic expression as they work toward a final performance at the end of the week. Registration begins in mid-February.
Young athletes will want to hit up Big Shots Training (bigshotstraining.com), located inside Recreations Outlet in Milford. The brand-new sports facility helps kids keep on top of skills, regardless of sport. This summer, workshops are available in lacrosse and basketball for boys and girls of all ages and levels of play. Plus, kids can also sign up for one-on-one training to really up their game. Four-day camps begin in June and run through July.
Aspiring thespians can check out The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (thechildrenstheatre.com) including 11 one-week summer camps starting mid- June that include successive “Adventure Series” Camps designed for kids to attend consecutively, according to Artistic Director of Education and Outreach Jay Goodlett. Serious theater students can audition this month for the STAR Camp Red Bank, a two week intensive camp for ages 9 – 18 held in July, or the STAR Intensive at Northern Kentucky University. Participants in these audition-based camps work with area professionals in all areas of musical theatre.
The Mayerson JCC (mayersonjcc.org) has a little something for everyone, including traditional summer camps for grades K – 8, as well as one, two, and three-week specialty sessions for young campers covering fun topics like Super Science Sleuths, horseback riding, and Camp We-Go-Out, a series of field trips to venues around Greater Cincinnati. In addition to programs for youngsters, the “J” also offers Golani Teen Camps for teens in grades 9 and 10. Designed to develop leadership skills in kids, the camps include fun field trips with an inside look at what it takes to be a staff member at Camp at the J. Registration for camps is available online.
The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati’s Camp Ernst (myycamp.org) introduces kids to fun “hang out” games like four-square and gaga, and this year, Program Director Michael Lindley has a new game planned: Nine Square in the Air. It’s like taking four-square to the next level, he says. Plus, campers at Camp Ernst can enjoy zipline, archery, fossil hunts, swimming, canoeing, horseback riding and more during week-long, overnight stays. Open houses are on April 2, May 7 and June 4 from 1 – 4 p.m.
What do Harry Potter, Star Wars and Pokemon have in common? They are some of the specialized themes children will explore at Cincinnati Parks’ (cincinnatiparks.com) summer day camps. Open to ages 3 – 14, kids will enjoy the pop culture of science fiction, magical fantasies and creative art projects along with daily hikes, games, live animal encounters and more. Camps fill up quickly, so register early!
Although under construction for a while, Cincinnati Museum Center (cincymuseum.org) has plenty of happenings this summer. Camps for grades K – 8 are held at seven different locations around town like Union Terminal, the Blue Ash Recreation Center, Cincinnati Country Day School and more. Themes range from chemistry and engineering to dinosaurs and archaeology to the ever-popular Harry Potter camps. Registration is open now, and camps fill up quickly — sign up early!